Saturday, April 15, 2017

From the Archives: Charlottesville-area Libertarians use 2011 Tax Day to argue against taxes

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on April 15, 2011. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Charlottesville-area Libertarians use 2011 Tax Day to argue against taxes
April 15, 2011 12:14 AM MST

Each month members of the Jefferson Area Libertarians, a local division of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, meet for a social hour at West Main Restaurant in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Libertarians taxes Rick Sincere LPVA Jim Lark
This month the meeting took place on the eve of the traditional date for Americans to complete their federal tax returns. (The Internal Revenue Service has extended this year's deadline from Friday, April 15, to Monday, April 18.)

James Curtis, treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Virginia (LPVA), and Jim Lark, secretary of the Jefferson Area Libertarians (JAL), will be guests on April 15 on The Schilling Show on WINA (1070 AM) to talk about tax policy. The two activists gave the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner an exclusive preview of the topics they will address on the radio Friday afternoon.

‘Grossly overtaxed’
Lark said he plans to talk about “the nature of what taxes are and the extent to which most libertarians feel that we are grossly overtaxed.”

The government, Lark explained, does many things it “should not be doing and we’re paying for those. There are many things that, even if government should be doing them – and that’s debatable – we’re still paying too much.”

Lark said he and Curtis will try to convey to Rob Schilling's listeners “the idea that perhaps we can cut the cost of government substantially. We can cut taxes; we can cut spending substantially.”

For his part, Curtis said that one point he wants to make is that there has been “a lot of discussion lately that the federal government’s not experiencing an income issue, it’s more of a spending matter. I politely disagree with that. I think it is a revenue issue also.”

Curtis explained that he thinks “the federal government actually takes in too much revenue” and it is “taxing us too aggressively, putting too much strain on the economy.”

How to transform the tax system
Offered a “magic wand” that could transform the country’s tax system, Lark and Curtis gave similar but not identical wish lists.

“If they give the magic wand to me,” Lark said he would get rid of the tax system “entirely” and instead would like to see “a society where taxes look more like user fees or something like that, where people actually pay for goods and services” that they use.

Given “a less powerful magic wand,” however, Lark said he would “probably go to some sort of flat-tax scheme at a very low rate.”

Curtis said that he would “repeal the individual and corporate income taxes and payroll taxes. Individual taxes are theft.”

Under those circumstances, he explained, “government would have to do without most of its unconstitutional programs,” while remaining programs “would have to be put into its reduced budget.”

He noted that much of the federal government’s revenue comes from “excise taxes, tariffs, and such” and that many people have a misconception that “if we got rid of the income tax, the federal government would go out of business.”

Curtis pointed out, however, that individual income taxes only constitute about 32 percent of federal revenues, “so we’re potentially talking about cutting the budget by a third if we repeal the income tax.”

What about the Fair Tax?
Both Curtis and Lark are reluctant to endorse the Fair Tax, a consumption tax popularized by nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz and former Georgia Congressman John Linder, designed to replace the income tax.

“I’ve always been a friendly skeptic about the Fair Tax,” said Lark. “I certainly understand what they’re trying to do and I’m very sympathetic to a lot of the ideas that motivate it, but I’m not sure that it would be a step in the right direction.”

Noting that he has “a lot of friends who are major Fair Tax enthusiasts,” Lark conceded that “if it were passed, it very well may be an improvement over what we now have,” but his own preference is to “move in a different direction.”

To Curtis, the Fair Tax is “better than what we have now but the polite way to put it is I’m not a fan.”

Tax Day Rallies
The Jefferson Area Libertarians will be participating in two events marking Tax Day 2011.

On Friday at 5:00 p.m., the group’s chairman, John Munchmeyer, will speak at a rally at the Free Speech Monument on Charlottesville’s downtown mall, sponsored by the Jefferson Area Tea Party.

On Monday, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., JAL will have its own educational demonstration outside the main Charlottesville Post Office on Route 29 North, hoping to reach local taxpayers as they drop their income tax returns into the mail box.

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